U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has urged leaders in the Arab world to embrace democratic reforms to improve their nations' economies and fight terrorism.
Mr. Powell made his remarks Saturday at the opening of a conference on the subject in the Moroccan capital, Rabat. He told delegates from about 20 Arab, African, Middle Eastern and Asian nations that political and economic freedom go hand in hand.
The U.S. secretary of state said now is not the time to argue about the pace of reforms.
However, Arab participants said that bringing peace to the region is the best way to promote reform.
The so-called "Forum for the Future" is part of a Bush administration initiative, unveiled at a G-8 summit in June, to urge that Arab states promote democracy, human rights and economic liberalization.
Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.